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Similarities and Differences Across Cultures - In Modern Times and Throughout History

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Keywords: Cultures, Modern Times, Past Times, Similarities, Differences
Subject(s): Geography, Social Studies, History
Grade 1
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Pinellas Primary Academy, Largo, FL
Planned By: Joyce DePergola
Original Author: Joyce DePergola, Largo
Florida Next General Sunshine State Standards:

SS.1.A.1.2: Understand how to use the media center/other sources to find answers to questions about a historical topic.
SS.1.A.2.1: Understand history tells the story of people and events of other times and places.
SS.1.A.2.2: Compare life now with life in the past.

Common Core Standards:

Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
SL.1.4. Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.
SL.1.5. Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.
SL.1.6. Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation

Lesson Objectives:
1. Students will demonstrate the ability to use technology and literature to research historical topics.
2. Students will demonstrate recognition of basic needs and the resources that we use to fulfill these needs in current times, throughout history and across cultures.
3. Students will demonstrate a general understanding of the effect of past cultures and diverse modern cultures on our modern society in areas related to daily living, food, art and music.

Lesson Introduction:
1. I will begin the lesson by showing an enlarged copy of the National Geographic commissioned picture by Rene Milot “Tale of Three Cities” on the SMART Board. This picture can be found at the following link: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/3cities/
We will have an open class discussion about the items that they see that are familiar. I am sure they will recognize the computer in the New York photo. We will examine items in the other photos that are used for similar purposes. A book in the Cordoba photo would take the place of the computer in providing information. A candle takes the place of a light. Handmade pottery in the Alexandria photo takes the place of a two liter bottle in the New York photo.

2. I will provide pictures of past cultures and different modern cultures to the students and ask them to work in groups to find similarities and differences. Students will be asked to look for items that are used for the same purpose but look different or differences or similarities in styles of clothing, housing and furnishings. I will circulate among the groups and encourage discussion and questions relating to different cultures and the representations.

Day 1: Lesson Introduction.

Day 2: Students will draw pictures of themselves and their parents in their daily lives. The students will be given a homework assignment to interview their families about their cultural background and some of their family traditions. They will be given an interview sheet to fill out. Students will be required to write short responses to the questions and an additional page will be provided for parents to add details relating to their home culture if they would like to.

Day 3: Students will work in small groups at computer stations and examine the National Geographic photos of different cultures. Other appropriate internet sites and software will be used if available. If only 2 or 3 computers are provided, some students can work on the paper pictures and some on the computer and switch off. We will discuss the similarities and differences found and the students will print pictures from the internet sites and use pictures provided to cut out and begin creating a presentation representing items from different cultures across time.

Day 4: The students will work on their class presentations. They will create a visual presentation with photos, original artwork, clipart or items that reflect the modern day culture that they have researched and a comparison to a past culture where items were used for the same purpose. I will encourage them to incorporate items from home that reflect their culture. They could bring these items in or draw pictures and describe them. The presentations must be labeled and divided with representations from modern cultures and past cultures. I will send out information encouraging parents, grandparents or guardians to participate and discuss their culture with the classroom in order to encourage family involvement and provide authentic information and examples of specific cultures.

Day 5: Individual Presentations.

Closure: The lesson closure will include a review of the items and traditions that we found to be common or unique across cultures such as food, music, and modes of transportation. A list will be written on the class board of similarities and differences in modern cultures and past cultures. We will discuss the similarities across cultures and time in our basic needs of food and shelter and how these needs are met and the uniqueness of music and art within cultures. Questions will be encourage that may require follow-up in relation to geography, government, languages, history and other items specific to different cultures. We will end with a discussion about the “melting pot” that is modern day America and the diversity of cultures that are represented in our country and community and how history has affected this growth and diversity.

Guided Practice: I will provide guidance to the students during the small group time by circulating in the class, discussing the children’s progress, and addressing questions. I will encourage questions, group discussions and individual interpretations of the pictures and cultures.

Independent Practice: Independent practice is provided with the home interview assignment.

Materials: The materials used include the internet, pictures of different cultures and times, samples of simple musical instruments from different cultures and the students own items brought from home. Additional materials needed for presentations include a small poster board or large construction paper to be divided into two parts for past and modern cultures, markers, crayons, colored pencils, scissors and glue sticks.
Technology: The technology used will be the internet and a CD player to play music of different cultures. Integration of the Clip Art Station software offered in the Digital Wish Clip Art Station Grant would be a valuable asset to the students in this lesson plan.

ESOL/ESE strategies: Abstract Concepts/Concrete Examples, Demonstrations, Dialogue Journals, Realia, Visual Representations, Small Groups.

Extended Learning: A field trip to a local cultural center or museum would be a wonderful extension to this lesson.

Integration of the Clip Art Station software offered in the Digital Wish Clip Art Station Grant would be a valuable asset to the students in this lesson plan.

Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This lesson could be used as an introduction to a larger unit on a specific culture or history lesson. It could be modified to include timelines. Higher performing students could be given the option to create a Power Point presentation for their visual presentation.
Extended Learning: A field trip to a local cultural center or museum would be a wonderful extension to this lesson.

Links: Link to National Geographic Picture
Materials: Whiteboards, Mobile Labs, CDs and DVDs, Printers, Social Studies, Books, Word Processor, Art Tools, Clip Art